Every day, our cash society seems to move more into the digital realm. A prominent cause of this shift is convenience, and mobile wallets make the transition seamless. A few years ago, watching someone pay with their phone at a store or restaurant was somewhat rare – today, it’s commonplace.
Despite the rise in popularity, many members are still unsure about this newer technology. Is it safe? What happens if you lose your phone? It makes sense to be hesitant since a mobile wallet can hold so much of your financial information.
Before moving from a physical wallet to a digital one, it’s important to understand how they work.
What is a mobile wallet?
A mobile wallet (also called a digital or virtual wallet) is a digital wallet that stores your credit card, debit card, and gift card numbers, as well as any loyalty card numbers on your mobile device. Most digital wallets can be accessed via your smartphone, smartwatch, or tablet.
This technology enables you to make purchases using your smart device – eliminating the need to carry your credit or debit cards or keep track of your gift or loyalty cards.
The more common mobile wallets include Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. You can download these apps to your mobile device through the App Store or Google Play. Then, once you connect your card numbers, you can use your mobile device to pay for purchases.
Why use a mobile wallet?
While convenience is a major driver behind utilizing a mobile wallet, many are often surprised to learn they also offer enhanced security.
- Higher level of security
Mobile wallets offer a higher level of security when compared to physical credit or debit cards. There are actually several layers of protection included:
- Your mobile wallet and the card information stored will typically be secured using either a password, PIN, fingerprint scan, or facial recognition. So, even if you lose your phone or smart device, your information is well protected
- When making purchases, every transaction is encrypted, and your card information is never shown to or shared with the merchant
- Since your card information is never stored or shared with a merchant, your personal and financial information should be safe from hackers if the store is a victim of a data breach
- Nowadays, almost everyone carries their smartphone with them everywhere they go. Therefore, if you have a mobile wallet on your phone or device, you can eliminate the need to bring your debit or credit cards
- Mobile wallets also provide a faster way to make purchases. You no longer have to look for your credit or debit card. Simply bring up the mobile wallet app on your phone and hold your device over the payment terminal
- Lastly, mobile wallets offer a seamless interface for organizing all your cards, so you don’t have to worry about losing them. Instead, everything is in one convenient place
How to set up and use a mobile wallet
Setting up a mobile wallet is easy. First, decide which mobile wallet you prefer and download it through the App Store or Google Play. The most common mobile wallets, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay, often come standard as apps on the respective brand’s phones.
Once you install the app, the onscreen instructions will guide you through adding your card information to your wallet. You can add multiple cards; however, you must choose one as your default card. Include any gift cards or loyalty cards as well for added convenience.
Finally, to use your mobile wallet when making a purchase, open your mobile wallet using either a password, PIN, fingerprint scan, or facial recognition. Then, hold your phone up to the compatible reader in the store, and the transaction will automatically process.
We’re here to help!
The level of convenience offered by mobile wallets makes them popular, but increased security is the major draw for many members. If you have questions about digital wallets or how to input your credit union cards into your wallet, we’re happy to help.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.